Florida became an oasis of freedom during the pandemic under Governor Ron DeSantis.
That is still paying off in spades for the Sunshine State.
And Ron DeSantis was grinning from ear to ear when Florida smashed this record.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has turned the Sunshine State into a tourism juggernaut.
Avoiding lockdowns and restrictions during the pandemic made it one of the hottest vacation destinations in the country.
Florida has continued the momentum after the pandemic ended.
VISIT FLORIDA, the state tourism agency, said the state had a “record-breaking” number of tourists for 2022.
“Whether for business or vacation, people continue to visit Florida and support Florida businesses because of our commitment to keeping the economy open and allowing businesses to thrive without arbitrary government restrictions,” DeSantis said. “Florida is the best state in the nation to bring your business and vacation with your families.”
A total of 137.4 million tourists flocked to Florida in 2022 and they spent more than $124 billion according to VISIT FLORIDA.
Florida tourism weathered the storm during the pandemic and came out on the other side better than ever.
Tourism is the second largest source of jobs in Florida accounting for 9.5% of all jobs in the state.
Tourism-supported employment surpassed pre-pandemic levels, growing to two million jobs.
VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young credited DeSantis for the state’s massive success in attracting visitors.
“Whether for work or play, Governor DeSantis’ freedom-first policies have allowed Florida’s tourism industries and all industries to flourish to record levels,” Young said. “The impact of commerce and tourism on Florida’s economy cannot be overstated, and again, Florida has proven that it’s charging faster than the national economic trends, which have otherwise set back many other states.”
Other vacation destinations in blue states that faced prolonged pandemic restrictions are still struggling to recover.
In 2023, Las Vegas was still below its pre-pandemic numbers for visitors.
Standing up for freedom saved Florida’s tourism industry from suffering the devastation suffered by other states.
“Florida continues to serve as an example for the country that when you reject lockdowns and unnecessary mandates, your economy will thrive,” DeSantis said in 2021.
Democrats claimed that DeSantis was driving tourists away from the state with his bold conservative policies, and some left-wing groups started boycotts.
But the numbers show that more people are flocking to Florida than ever before under his leadership.
The tourism industry is a major sector of Florida’s economy and keeping the state open is still paying dividends.
DeSantis Daily will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.